Today’s post addresses a very important decorating topic: IKEA. Many of you probably have (or have had, at some point) at least something from IKEA in your home, be it kitchen utensils, frames (THE way to make gallery walls affordable is to go to the Swedish mecca for their Ribba frames), a sofa, bookcase, or really anything from the Hemnes collection. My question today is whether you currently have IKEA items in your home and if so, how much? A lot? A little? None?
I’m not going to lie, the one thing I envisioned in my post-roommate housing life—aside from finally splurging on this guy—was living in an IKEA-free home. I really have no good reason for this [naiive] mindset except that I mainly associated the store with the immediate post-college lifestyle (not even the college lifestyle, since I have no idea where the nearest location is to central New York) or the place people went if they wanted to spend little to no brainpower designing their space; other than that, it was simply the place to pick up fun knickknacks, random textiles, misc. kitchen items, and of course, a soft serve post-checkout and bag of frozen meatballs to go. When I was growing up, a trip to IKEA was more of an activity than a necessity—my parent’s house didn’t need more furnishings, so I’d come up with some random thing I thought we needed and would turn it into a fun way to pass a day over summer vacation or quiet Saturday morning.
My first two apartments in DC were filled with IKEA. I bought my IKEA mattress, bed, dresser, and desk from one of the girls who lived in the apartment before my roommates and I moved in, and our $20 IKEA coffee table essentially functioned as our dining table. And a year later, when I moved into another apartment (in the same building), I “upgraded” to a non-IKEA bed + mattress and desk, but added an Expedit (now the Kallax) to my room because it was practically designed for my incredibly narrow converted one-bedroom. We got a second Expedit for the living room, bought an IKEA loveseat from neighbors in the building, got two of these chairs to finish out our living room, and had two of these $8 tables as our dual purpose”coffee” and dining tables. Oh, and I made J help me hand-stain an unfinished IKEA dresser because I was looking for a very specific “look,” and my roommate and I practically lost temporarily mobility in our hands after trying to put together three pieces of their furniture without a battery-operated screw driver. Essentially, I clearly loved my IKEA, but when J and I moved into a new place three years later, I’d made up my mind: after four years of having the same furniture as half the millennials in DC, I was d.o.n.e.
Haha, well, little did I know, I wasn’t quite donezo. J was coming from five years in a fully adorned IKEA apartment (95% of his furniture was from there) and unsurprisingly, I had a ~vision~ to achieve in our new place. That vision included no IKEA and and no matching sets. We got a couch, two bookshelves, and a dresser from Wayfair, a rug, a new bed and mattress from Tuft & Needle, and have his old desk (one of his few non-IKEA pieces). It took us nearly eight months to replace the one Expedit that came with us, but in its place is a gorgeous, custom lacquered piece from One of a Find Charleston. This progress made me so happy, and I was proud that we’d managed to pull together something unique without a) breaking the bank and b) relying on IKEA when I briefly turned impatient and wanted things done quickly rather than intentionally.
However, the one thing in our apartment that I disliked more than anything remained: J’s black leather Poang chair. I inexplicably hate this thing…and I don’t know why. It’s actually quite comfortable, but I think it just sticks out like a sore thumb and feels way too…overdone? Harsh? I actually had the cream fabric one in my old apartment and was so happy to see it go, too, so it’s partially likely a style thing. As I spent hours scouring the internet for reasonable options—it had to be small because our space is tiny, would ideally be white but easy to clean, needed to be comfortable, and couldn’t cost a kidney—the only thing I came remotely close to ordering was this chair. The price tag was still higher than we were looking to spend, and thanks to Wayfair’s sneaky pricing, it kept going up. I’ll cut to the chase here: after countless websites visited and chairs perused, guess what’s currently sitting in our living room? This.
So I surrendered…IKEA, you’re not all bad. The chair looks really nice in person, the covers are removable (washable!), it’s quite comfortable, and it was under $250. The unfortunate part was that we couldn’t get it delivered for about six weeks, but that also gave us enough time to realize a simple shelf was what we were missing from a storage and aesthetic capacity; I called them and they were able to combine our two orders into the same delivery. I’ll take a better picture of the space soon—the shelf and chair literally came in late Saturday afternoon—but it’s crazy how well they help tie together the room. The chair situation specifically was driving me nuts, and when it’s a small space, one little thing like that can really bring down a room’s vibe (and in my case, that unfortunately translates into my mood, too). At this point, I’ve set my stubbornness aside and realized that while I’ll never ever rely on IKEA to create my room for me (read: no matching sets, ever), it’ll likely be a place I shop for one-offs for a long, long time. I even convinced my parents to get a couple nightstands from there for their new guestroom!
Anyway, so, are you an IKEA person? Do you have some, or a lot, or none of it in your home? I’d love to know what you have—if there are pieces you swear by, ones that you hate, etc.!
PS: I love their dishtowels!